Now, researchers at UCSD School of Medicine have shown that Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology has the potential to non-invasively characterize tumors and determine which of them may be responsive to specific forms of treatment, based on their specific molecular properties. The study will be published on line by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) the week of March 24.
“This approach reveals that, using existing imaging techniques, we can identify the molecular properties of tumors,” said Michael Kuo, M.D., assistant professor of interventional radiology at UCSD School of Medicine. Kuo and colleagues analyzed more than 2,000 genes that had previously been shown to have altered expression in Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors. They then mapped the correlations between gene expression and MRI features.
The researchers also identified characteristic imaging features associated with overall survival of patients with GBM, the most common and lethal type of primary brain tumor.
The researchers discovered five distinct MRI features that were significantly linked with particular gene expression patterns. For example, one specific characteristic seen in some images is associated with proliferation of the tumor, and another with growth and formation of new blood vessels within the tumor–both of which are susceptible to treatment with specific drugs.
These physiological changes seen in the images are caused by genetic programs, or patterns of gene activation within the tumor cells. Some of these programs are tightly associated with drug targets, so when they are detected, they could indicate which patients would respond to a particular anti-cancer therapy, according to the researchers.
“For the first time, we have shown that the activity of specific molecular programs in these tumors can be determined based on MRI scans alone,” said Kuo. “We were also able to link the MRI with a group of genes that appear to be involved in tumor cell invasion–a phenotype associated with a reduced rate of patient survival.”
Laboratory work that relies on tissue samples is routinely used to diagnose and guide treatment for GBM. However, the biological activity shown may depend on the portion of the tumor from which the tissue sample is obtained. The researchers have shown that MRI could be used to identify differences in gene expression programs within the same tumor.
“Gene expression results in the production of proteins, which largely determine a tumor’s characteristics and behavior. This non-invasive MRI method could, for example, detect which part of a tumor expresses genes related to blood vessel formation and growth or tumor cell invasion,” said Kuo. “Understanding the genetic activity could prove to be a very strong predictor of survival in patients, and help explain why some patients have better outcomes than others.”
Kuo also led a study, published in Nature Biotechnology in May 2007, correlating CT images of cancerous tissue with gene expression patterns in liver tumors. “In the new study, we were able to take a different imaging technology, MRI, and apply it to a totally different tumor type,” he said, noting that the studies open up promising new avenues for non-invasive diagnoses and classification of cancer.
Debra Kain | EurekAlert!
2 million euros in funding for new MR-compatible electrophysiological brain implants
18.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für biologische Kybernetik
PET identifies which prostate cancer patients can benefit from salvage radiation treatment
05.12.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.
In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...
Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
18.12.2017 | Information Technology
18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science